I’ve been seeing a decent amount of media coverage this week about Amazon suing a fairly large number of reviewers for posting fake reviews on the site. Now, everyone knows that fake reviews have been a huge problem for books on Amazon for a long time. The last attempt Amazon made to address this seemed, at first glance, to penalize readers and legitimate reviewers rather than deal with the actual problem.
Will suing those who post fake reviews or those who pay for them make a difference? Probably not. There will always be someone willing to pay for positive press and someone willing to be paid to provide it. But maybe the more we talk about it, the more people will be willing to really engage with the reviews rather than simply looking at the ratings. Rather than simply seeing twenty 5-star reviews and thinking that means a book is good, perhaps this will urge readers to really read the reviews to see if what they say actually tells them something about the book that resonates with them. Just maybe this will also encourage readers to write reviews with specific examples of what they like and dislike in the books they read.